[3.6] ETK's Howa Occultist - All content (extremely tanky + high dps)

What follows is my personal take on one of the most iconic/well known builds in poe.

While this guide doesn't claim to provide the absolute best version of this build, i consider it to be the best user-friendly howa i came across.

The focus here is to be as tanky as possible (basically indestructible), while maintaining good DPS output and avoiding being reliant on temporary buffs.

Most of the time you can get away with messing up your flask management, failing to cast skills at the right time and even failing to manually dodge mechanics. I also did intend to keep the budget somewhat realistic.

Even without using extremely expensive items, the budget could still be out of range for a lot of players, don't attempt to follow this guide unless you have some experience in PoE.

I worked on this build with a friend/guildmate. League wasn't exactly exciting and he wanted to try a very well rounded character, so we poured our resources and ideas together. He's the one currently playing it and since he's doing carries/streams you can watch this build in action live if you wish to do so:

PROFILE (ign: Amberhowah)

Around 2 minutes deathless uber elder kill:

- Extremely tanky
- High damage
- Easy to play
- Can use any melee skill

- Moderately expensive
- 19.253 energy shield
- 7.5k leech/sec
- 4m real shaper dps (all temp buffs down)
- 6.3m real shaper dps (all temp buffs up)
- immune to ignite/chill/freeze/shock (no flasks)
- immune to stun/corrupted blood/curses (no flasks)

The above stats are taken from our existing character that is in boss-farming setup. Read the Mapping section below if you plan to do tons of maps with it.

For those who don't want to waste more time reading, here are the pastebins for the build:

lvl 89 character:
Lvl 89 should be easy for everyone :P

Final lvl 100:

Most of our rare gear is selfcrafted to keep the cost manageable. With all the options we have now isn't really that expensive to get decent items anymore.

The defining unique of any howa build. Here the most important roll is "% increased intelligence" (we want a 12%), followed by a good corruption (attack speed > added lightning damage)

This shield has lot of synergies with our build and ascendancy and it fit our build so well that's really difficult to find a substitute. If you have currency to spare you can look at the new synthesized bases (implicts to look for: minimum frenzy charges, minimum endurance charges, curse immunity, etc)

Keep in mind that being unaffected/immune to curses is a really huge qol. For example we can skip overcapping our resistances, we can ignore temporal chains, etc.

Budget option: Just a rare shield with as much energy shield, intelligence and resistances as possible. Getting at least "immune to curses if corrupted" on a synthesized titanium keep our build functional as it is, otherwise you need "of warding" as suffix on your 5th flask to keep the immunity.

Just about any chest with energy shield > 750 will do. You can try to find one with flat intelligence, a high resistance or a free spot to craft 6% increased attributes. Or a combination of these (max you can have two at the same time due to dense fossils adding their own suffix)

Budget option: Incandescent Heart
This piece provide a defense comparable to a 800-900 es regalia but only against elemental damage. Can work quite well tho. Only roll that matter here is "gain xx% of elemental damage as extra chaos damage", try to get the highest you can afford.

These cap our accuracy and give us extra energy shield. Can't be replaced. The rolls doesn't matter at all. But the corruption does. Curse enemies with lvl xx enfeblee on hit is the corruption we are looking for. We scale our offensive curses elsewhere, and in a better way, and we don't need them on maps anyway.

On the boots we get our chill/freeze immunity at the cost of some movement speed and flat energy shield. There are many way to deal with this slot. The chill/freeze immunity is also found on the ring Dream Fragments, and some boots can have the onslaught as implicit (very expensive), and finally you also can craft "of heat' on the 5th flask (not adviced)

NOTE: There's another way to get or chill/freeze immunity, but require a slight rework of our build. Swapping out Malediction for Frigid Wake allow some extra energy shield/movement speed on the boots without giving up a ring slot. Since we're not cold-based, this isn't really the optimal choice as we are using 4 ascendancy points to get an immunity and nothing else.

Budget option: Sin Trek, with just as high intelligence and energy shield as possible.

- Damage penetrate 10% of enemy elemental resistances if you haven't killed recently
This is the best enchant for bossing
- 16% increased attack and cast speed if you've killed recently
This one give us more speed while mapping

Here we are looking for the enchant: +2 molten strike projectiles, then energy shield, high intelligence and resistances.

NOTE: If you're already confortable with your resistances, you may consider trying to craft (or find) an helm with nearby enemies have -9% lightning resistance (metallic fossils). Isn't required but still worth mentioning.

This belt is awesome for an attribute-scaling build. Just try to find the highest "% increased all attributes" you can find, possibly with a good corruption (best being the one on our belt, but % to all elemental resistances, % increased energy shield, discipline has % increased aura effect are all good and viable options).

Keep in mind that if you manage to keep your final strength above your final dexterity you gain ignite and shock immunity. Ignite prevent the start of our recharge, and shock is always annoying specially if you're travelling a dangerous zone like a deep rippy delve (also shock immunity allows free use of Vessel of Vinktar if you chose to do so)

Again, intelligence is our primary stat, but there's another mod that help tremendously: "1% increased damage per 15 intelligence" (you can find this on a shaped amulet ilvl 80 or a synthesized base). Aside these two mods, you should use these slots to complement the other gear you have in a meaningful way.

Budget options: Astramentis, Dream Fragments, Le Heup of All.

Of all the jewels presented here, only the 2 Fertile Mind, the Pure Talent and the Wildfire are required. All the other are purely optional. We can use the rare jewels to cap our resistances and maybe balance them (for The Wise Oak)

About Watcher's eye:
There are 5 mods that we may consider while picking this jewel

Gain x% of maximum mana as extra maximum energy shield while affected by Clarity
This is the most important mod that should be present on any version of your watcher. Due to the intensive int scaling our mana pool is so huge that this mod can easily provide 1.5-2k extra es, raising all our recovery caps together with our defence.

Faster start of energy shield recharge while affected by Discipline
If you like to rely on es recharge, this is the mod for you. If you pick this one i suggest to replace the "% increased damage" mods on rings with the "% faster start or es recharge" ones, to lower the delay to around 1.1 seconds. Going above 100% in this parameter has heavy diminishing returns.

Energy shield recovery rate while affected by discipline
This one is the most well rounded mod in my opinion. It affects all our recovery sources (leech/regen/recharge) but it doesn't make the recharge start sooner. Also help to always cap our leech since lightning damage is the most inconsistent type of damage.

x Energy shield gained for each enemy hit while affected by discipline
Most players goes for this mod. It can add a huge chunk of es "leeched" on top of the regular leech. Help while running no leech maps and, to a minor extent, with x% less recovery ones. Keep in mind that this mod is only worth while bossing if you are using molten strike, due to the high count of hits/second.

Damage penetrate x% lightning resistance while affected by Wrath
This is just for more dps, not really needed but whatewer, i still put it here.

Balancing our resistances (the uncapped value need to be the same for all three) give us the best offense and defense possible thanks to The Wise Oak affecting all elements in this scenario. That's the reason why we need a Topaz flask in our setup. If this isn't possible, Lightning Resistance need to be the highest, while Cold Resistance should be the lowest.

The 5th flask is entirely situational. Basalt, Sulphur, Quartz. Aquamarine, Quicksilver are all valid choices and you should pick the best one according to the content you're about to engage. The suffix doesn't matter as there are only two that give us any bonus ("of adrenaline" and "of reflexes").

About Vessel of Vinktar: The dmg boost is good, but i still think this flask goes against the spirit of our build. All our flask have at least two uses each, while the former has just one use (this make The Wise Oak almost useless on the 2nd flasks usage). I would use it in the 5th slot only, and only if we really need the extra damage.

When you mapping i suggest to swap multistrike/damage of full life out to make space to ancestral call.

You can also swap lightning golem out for flamedash if you find you're having hard time crossing some obstacles.

Major Powers:
Soul of Lunaris: This is the major power we will use most of the times.
Soul of Solaris: Use this one if you're dealing with a critical-heavy dangerous zone.
Minor Powers:
Soul of Gruthkul: Default power for bosses.
Soul of Garukhan: Default mapping power.
Soul of Yugul: Help dealing with reflect maps, paired with a Sybil's Lament.
Soul of Ralakesh: Situational power, help vs blind.


For some of us Molten Strike, even with the use of Ancestral Call, it's just not fast enough.
It is worth considering swapping out entirely from Molten Strike if you plan to do extensive mapping with this char. A white socket in our chest allow us to swap to more effective skills for clearing such as Reave or Frost blades.

Alternate Gear:
Rare claw: While not giving as much damage as howa a rare claw with high aps and the mod "x lightning damage per 10 intelligence" can provide a much smoother clear speed while mapping. You can find this mod easily on shaped claws or less easily on synthesized ones as implicit.

Here's a visual example of such a claw:

Map mods and how to deal with them:
No regen: Turn of Arctic Armor, and use a mana flask. Alternatively, if you want to just ignore this mod, a jewel with mana on hit or taking the Mind Drinker notable solve the issue entirely.

No leech: This mod is entirely doable due to our innate regen/recharge and the massive ehp pool. Just be more cautious than usual.

Elemental reflect: You need to use a Sybil's Lament. Swap your left ring for this one. if your ring cap your resistances you may want to find a corrupted one with % to all resistances implicit. Then swap your minor phanteon to Soul of Yugul and remove all the links aside the damaging skill you're using and a support.

Last edited by etkratos on Jun 1, 2019, 2:22:42 PM
Last bumped on Jun 4, 2019, 2:19:53 AM
Awesome build, awesome guide and awesome player :)

Switch from an older build once I hit 100 - trying this out. Sold my CoC gear.

WOuld love to hear opinions/help min/maxing.

Working on acquiring a AS HoWA
DeerFart wrote:
Switch from an older build once I hit 100 - trying this out. Sold my CoC gear.

WOuld love to hear opinions/help min/maxing.

Working on acquiring a AS HoWA

Did look at your profile.

Your gear is good. Your tree also.

My first (and only) true concern is the lack of chill/freeze immunity aside the flask. I found it somewhat annoying while testing uber elder for a build that is supposed to be "lazy" :P

An attack speed corrupted Howa isn't really that noticeable but it is the best corruption in place of an otherwise useless implicit.

You should at least consider a dying sun. It is one of the best multipliers for molten strike, and it doesn't even mess up with your current wise oak lightning penetration. You can just toss it in without touching any piece of gear.

Last edited by etkratos on Apr 28, 2019, 9:23:14 AM
Do you see this working with Spectral Throw rather then Molten Strike? I really want a CI Howa ST build, but atm that does not exist. I haven't played in ages, but have currency to blow on standard but limited knowledge on wether or not it would be doable. Of course tweaks would be needed, but - any chance u think?
Silsamazing - lvl 100 Witch
SilAndTheVortex - lvl 100 Occultist
MindR wrote:
Do you see this working with Spectral Throw rather then Molten Strike? I really want a CI Howa ST build, but atm that does not exist. I haven't played in ages, but have currency to blow on standard but limited knowledge on wether or not it would be doable. Of course tweaks would be needed, but - any chance u think?

It work and it work quite well, As the tree itself is as -generic- as one can get. you can swap in and out projectile skills without touching almost anything (now thx to vorici 3 whites this is more true than ever). Wildfire become useless so you have 1 extra jewel slot.

You will need to fix mana since spectral throw cost a ~33% more x attack. Just removing the 25% aura or taking some -% mana reserved nodes solve this.

Edit: Forgot to add that, since you play std, there's a melee rework at the door. Not sure if spectral throw will be considered but would be wise to wait the patch notes before committing.

Last edited by etkratos on Apr 28, 2019, 10:43:02 PM
Just the build what i was looking for.
I will probably try this on the flashback.
no more purchases or recommendations til the trade system is fixed.
How do you have that much of attack speed? i'm using a pretty decent gear and the tree but have only 4aps o.O

Seem silly to say but i throw it here anyway: are you using multistrike? :P
tanky like this? solo depth 1728


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